House of Wax (1953)

Vincent Price delivers his first starring role within the Horror genre as Prof. Henry Jarrod, a crippled but talented wax museum sculptor who was scarred by a greedy business partner years earlier. Jarrod continues his work in a brand new exhibit, but when his recent additions begin bearing striking resemblances to bodies that have gone missing from the morgue, the police decide to settle in on the wayward wax museum! HOUSE OF WAX represents one of Price's finest performances, and while he still hams it up as only Price can, he is not as over the top or eccentric as he would become in later roles. What stands out more than anything else here is the incredible set design and props, ranging from the cold, fog strewn streets of the chase sequences to the lavishly dressed museum and its sinister boiler room. In the most startling and atmospheric sequence, the suspicious Sue Allen sneaks into the wax museum after hours, where all of the creations appear to follow her with their eyes as she sneaks around the darkened exhibits and shadowy corridors. The scene ends with the brilliant reveal of the killer as she struggles to escape, which serves as the defining moment in the film. While HOUSE OF WAX has plenty going for it, it is not without its faults. The uneven tone mixes straight horror with many goofy moments in both the acting and plot, but the most distracting elements are the unnecessary filler scenes that were added to exploit the gimmicky 3-D filming experience (most notably the paddle ball barker and can-can dancers). Outside of these minor quibbles, the film stands out as an excellent Gothic Horror classic that is staple viewing for all genre fans!

Rating: 9/10.

3 comments:

  1. It is pretty cool. Have to rewatch, it has been far too long.

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  2. I remember back in the early 80s there was something of a 3D revival. House of Wax was re-released and I remember thinking it was a new movie. If I ever saw it, it was on UHF a long time ago. I'll put it on my list.

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  3. I would have loved to experience this one in 3D, its hard to imagine how much of it would have actually functioned properly, but I will have to look around and see if there are any copies online in the original red and blues! I have no doubt that you guys will enjoy this one, its played much more straight than Price's Phibes character, but with that touch of camp that is pure Price.

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